“When Fascism comes to America, it will (be in the name of/come under the guise of/be called) anti-Fascism!” said Huey Long,the populist governor of and senator from Louisiana, in 1935. He isalso to have said that Fascism will come wrapped in an American flag.That could also mean, an American President.
Past American presidents are always being invoked in the name of patriotism. George Washington was the symbol of the Nazi German American Bund prior to World War II along with other national and mythic heroic manifestations (as well as using the Swastika).
At the tail end of the Reagan eighties an ABC mini-series, Amerika, starring Kris Kristofferson, posited a Soviet occupation of USA (not unlike Red Dawn,Starring Patrick Swayze). The former United States of America had beenbroken up into ten or so “administrative regions,” groupings of statesthat would become separate countries (i.e., California and Nevadacomprised the “California Special District”; Kentucky, Tennessee andWest Virginia comprised “Appalachia”). The design of the flags forthese regions was a dark blue field with a centered golden-yellow mapof the states in the region with the name of the region towards thebottom in gold letters. There were also ceremonial flags depictingpictures of Lincoln and Lenin (above), featured in a “Lincoln Week”parade in Omaha, Nebraska – shades of heroic realism.
Today, Glenn Beck’s mass ‘Restoring Honor” rally in the Washington Mall at the site of Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream”speech is awash with Abe Lincoln. From the podium on the steps of theLincoln Memorial to the rally poster of the famous Lincoln statue(below), it is all-Lincoln all-the-time.
The symbols of American patriotism rarely change. Presidents areeffective ready-made symbols. But one does need a guidebook to keepstraight who is using what symbol.
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